NewsFrom: AHS President - Mutumwa Mawere.
09 Nov 2011 11:58 pm
He stated that "On this matter, we urge government to allow investors to take up and run with the re-commissioning of Gaths and Shabanie Mines".
It is ironic that Chitando who should be fixed with the knowledge of the circumstances under which SMM Holdings Limited ("SMM") was placed under reconstruction and the actions of state actors prior to invoking a law that did not exist and that has not applied to any other company would urge the government to allow third party investors to take over the mine.
To Chitando, I am as good as dead and the issue of ownership is not as important as that of re-opening the mines.
Obviously by attacking the involvement of ZMDC he has not interest in SMM but is concerned that the next victim may very well be his employer, Mimosa.
In writing the self serving article he was acutely aware of the shift in thinking among state actors on the role of the state in mining.
The industry is naturally concerned about a predator state especially if the state can claim victories in the diamond industry.
It is clear that Chitando holds the view shared by many that a genuine private investor cannot be black.
The indigenization threat is real so is the approach to substitute indigenisation with state intervention. Accordingly, by attacking ZMDC using SMM, Chitando is not fighting on principle but self preservation.
Whose interests does the Chamber represent anyway? In as much as I would like Mr. Chitando to have real and substantial interests in the industry the fact of the matter is that the Chamber will only complain if foreign interests are affected.
In as much as Chitando is of the view that the Chamber has no jurisdiction to intervene in the SMM ownership matter and the abuse of state power, on the question of indigenization a strong view is held that the rule of law must apply and the protection of private property rights (with the exception of Mawere) be respected.
Ultimately, the issue of SMM has been reduced to a personal matter even by a Chamber notwithstanding the evidence that state power has been used to effect the disputed shareholding change.
Now turning to the question of ZMDC's involvement in the affairs of SMM, is it not strange that the Chairman of ZMDC, Mr. Masimirembwa, would choose to take the view that ZMDC's role in the matter has no bearing to the ownership issue?
ZMDC is a creature of statute but what may not be understood by Masimirembwa is that it has a separate and distinct existence from the holders of shares in it. The government is the holder of shares but at law it does not own the corporation.
The corporation unlike private companies is governed under an Act of Parliament.
ZMDC has its own board but in reality the Chairman effectively operates as if such a board does not exist.
The Chairman like any of his board colleagues are nominated by the Minister responsible for administering the Act i.e. Minister of Mines and Mining Development.
In appointing the directors, the President is not required to subject such persons to any test and, therefore, the confidence that many people have on state capitalism or socialism may be misplaced by the manner in which office bearers are selected and appointed.
Even Mr. Masimirembwa would agree that nothing prepared him for the roles that he is now expected and is playing in the mining industry.
In proposing that ZMDC must be involved in SMM I should like to believe that no serious thought was made on the institutional and capacity challenges that face ZMDC but have been efficiently masked by the diamond revenues.
Largely due to God's making, anyone appointed to be the Minister of Mines would naturally look like a performer.
The impact of diamonds in distorting the true place of ZMDC in the Zimbabwean mining narrative will no doubt be a subject for historians. However, what we do know is that there is no record of ZMDC as a principal being credited for profitably running a mine.
Who controls ZMDC? In terms of the Act, the corporation should be controlled by its board to which the management should be accountable. However, in reality the board is subservient to the Chairman who reports to the Minister.
The Chairman of ZMDC by default has become a super human being capable of producing extraordinary outcomes in the eyes of his principals.
In placing the control and administration of SMM under the control of ZMDC, it is clear that the Chairman did not apply his mind to the real issues.
Given the peculiar circumstances of Zimbabwe, no rational person would expect Masimirembwa let alone the Minister of Mines to speak to the truth on SMM matters especially when they live in fear of losing their own jobs and the benefits they derive from such power.
Knowing the architecture of Zimbabwean state power, one would have expected Chitando to know better and act wisely.
Zimbabwe needs men of courage to advance its interests but we all know that courage is not a commodity that is readily available.
Masimirembwa and Chitando may know where the truth lies but would rather keep it to themselves for the consequences of deviant behaviour are well known in an environment that is controlled by a few powerful persons.